Monday, August 30, 2010

Almost Sticky Rice with Chinese Sausage

As a child growing up in LA, we didn't go out to eat Chinese food much because my Grandfather was such an amazingly good cook. If we did go out, it would be on Sundays to go have Dim Sum in Chinatown. My favorite thing was sticky rice steamed in lotus leaves. It always felt like I was unwrapping a present and inside would be scrumptious morsels of Chinese Sausage, Salted Duck Egg, Shitake Mushrooms and Dried Shrimp (back when I could still eat them). Well, I still go out for Dim Sum once in a while, but I have to be careful because of my shrimp and crab allergy so I've started recreating the flavors in my kitchen. Last night I was craving some Chinese flavors and I found some Chinese Sausage in the freezer. So, I decided to make Sticky Rice with Chinese Sausage minus the lotus leaf wrapping. I combined several recipes to create the one below. The biggest change was that I only had medium grain sushi rice instead of short grain rice. It turned out a little less sticky and you know what? I liked it even better. Next time I go to the Asian Market, I'm going to buy some lotus leaves and try this rice wrapped inside and I'll let you know how it goes. If you don't have Chinese Sausage, you can substitute a good salty ham like Virginia Ham or Country Ham or even Black Forest Ham. Be sure to plan ahead and soak the rice and mushrooms earlier in the day. The soy sauce and oyster sauce and shitake mushrooms give it lots of "Umami" or savory flavor. I think I could become addicted to this dish!

Almost Sticky Rice with Chinese Sausage

3 cups medium grain white rice soaked in water (cover by one inch) for at least one hour
8 - 10 dried Shitake Mushrooms soaked in hot water for 1/2 hour
4 Chinese Sausages or 1 cup diced ham
1 inch slice of ginger peeled and minced fine
5 green onions sliced
1 small can sliced Water Chestnuts
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1/2 cup Chinese Rice Wine
2 Tablespoons of Soy Sauce
3 Tablespoons of Oyster Sauce
2 teaspoons of Toasted Sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 cups Chicken Broth (preferably homemade)

Drain rice and put in a bowl. Cut off mushroom stems and chop mushrooms into small pieces. Cut sausages into small pieces and chop water chestnuts. Stir together Rice Wine, Soy Sauce, Oyster Sauce, Sesame Oil and Chicken Broth. Heat a frying pan and add vegetable oil. Add ginger and green onions (be sure to reserve some green tops for garnish) and sausage (or ham) and stir-fry for a few minutes. Add mushrooms and stir fry for an additional minute or so. Add rice and sauce and stir together. Put rice mixture into a large pot and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for about 25 minutes. If you like a crispy outside crust, leave on very low heat for an additional 5 - 10 minutes.

Five Element Analysis

There's lots of color in this one pot dish so you know there has to be an inherent Five Element Balance going on. The rice is from the Metal Element as are the green onions. The Water Element is represented by the Chinese Sausage and the Soy Sauce, Oyster and Sesame Oil. The Rice Wine brings in the Fire Element and the Chicken Broth adds the Wood Element. The Water Chestnuts and Mushrooms bring in the Earth Element although Shitake Mushrooms along with the Soy Sauce and Oyster Sauce also have an additional Metal component because of their incredible Umami flavor. As you can see, this is a very balanced bowl of rice.

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